I always feel sorry when I hear stories about those up north who planned their hard-earned vacations in “The Sunshine State,” only to get here and experience one of those rare weeks full of bad weather. They had saved, anticipated, and relished their plans – only to get to their hotel or resort, and watch the winds from a tropical storm or the rain from a stalled front deprive them of their expectations. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it is disappointing, and about all they can do is go home with an unexpected vacation story to tell their friends.
We all love sunny days. We feel better, our spirits are higher, and the landscape radiates under the beautiful Florida sun. But the truth is, we need those rainy days too – even in the Sunshine State. Our yards won’t stay green long without those wonderfully brief but potent afternoon showers. No amount of irrigated water will replace the nutrients in our yards like a good rain soaking will provide. And, in times of drought, when lakes are receding and the springs are drying, nothing replenishes like a good ol’ tropical depression.
Our hearts are much like our yards in this scenario. They love sunny days, trouble-free blocks of time where it seems that all is peachy keen, and not a worry is in sight. But as inviting as these times seem, life does not operate under sustained idyllic conditions. When things in our life are “that kind of great,” we quickly become more self-dependent than we realize. Plainly said, our souls just don’t prosper when our lives are trouble free.
John Piper said this…
“No one ever said that they learned their deepest lessons of life, or had their sweetest encounters with God, on the sunny days. People go deep with God when the drought comes.”
That couldn’t be more true. Those days that are difficult drive me to prayer and dependency on God. And for that reason, those days are not only necessary, but they are precious to our lives.
In these COVID-19 times, it helps us embrace these difficulties that we are facing if we remember that God does more than lead us beside still waters…sometimes He allows us to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And in both times, He is there. Those shadows remind me just how much I need my Savior, and how dependent upon Him I truly am.
Psalm 107:28-29a is encouraging:
“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still…”
Be encouraged, and remember – we need the refreshing rain of God’s Spirit to fall on our dry hearts. And, call out to the One who is the light of all. He will guide you through to your next sunny day.
Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers. In Gainesville, Mike is heard on WTMN – 96.3 FM / 1430 AM. In Ocala, on WRZN – 103.5 FM / 720 AM. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader. As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.